This is a time of regrets for Castro. Not the regrets that one might expect him to have after a lifetime of being the scourge of other men. That would require a conscience and that is something which psychopaths are unburdened by. His regrets are not for the crimes he has committed or the lives that he has crushed and eviscerated. His regrets are for the quarry that got away. His "Reflection" on the Cuban baseball players who defected in Canada reads like an ad for runaway slaves. These were common in Southern newspaper of the antebellum era. The only difference is that Castro does not actually offer a reward. I suppose because he is unwilling to buy back what cost him nothing in the first place. Although he did not actually buy his slaves on the auction block, Castro is no less attached to them than Southerners whose fortunes were invested in them. They are also, ultimately, the source of his wealth and social standing. His name is writ large in the annals of history with the blood and sweat of his people.
Of all his slaves Castro feels a particular attachment to Cuba's athletes. First, because they realize his vicarious ambitions; but also because they represent his only success in biological engineering. He was able to produce only one champion bovine of legendary (and perhaps mythical) accomplishments while cattle in Cuba became virtually extinct. Now he has a chicken that can lay an egg as big as an ostrich's but the other chickens, cowered perhaps by her achievement, have stopped laying eggs. Bigger and better, for Castro, has always meant a fetish with the abnormal over the common and ordinary. The statue of his beloved Ubre Blanca, world's champion milk producer, cannot be milked. Cuban children, despite of Ubre Blanca or more likely because of her, have their milk ration cut off at age 7.
It is different with Cuba's athletes. Their achievements can be shared by all even if the credit accrues only to him. They are Castro's ambassadors of sport in a literal sense, more so even than Hitler's Olympians. Their profession is the most politicized in Cuba and the athletes themselves are treated like state property. Of course this can be said about all Cubans but in their case the State has a most active interest in them which never lets up for a second while they are still in their prime. Then they are "shielded" at all times by several layers of "security," Castro's version of overseers. Their natural talents are not so much cultivated as circumscribed by regime. In its service, they are allowed to exercise those talents on a world stage but must renounce the rewards that accompany athletic excellence everywhere else. Perpetual amateurism in sports is no less desirable than in any other profession. It is an apprenticeship that never ends, or, rather, ends in frustration and superannuation. Every Cuban athlete's career is stunted if not destroyed unless he manages to escape Castro's plantation. Success or failure is contingent upon it.
Castro's indignation at the fact that his Fugitive Slave Law is not respected in all countries, his denunciation of Canadians for not enforcing it against the Cuban baseball players who recently defected there as the Brazilians did against the Cuban boxers last year, should merit the world's repudiation except that his pretensions are taken seriously even in countries that decline to serve as his bloodhounds.
Three and possibly five Cuban baseball players have defected in Edmonton, Canada during this year's Junior Baseball Tournament there. Castro has called Edmonton a "dumping grounds" and questioned its desirability as a site for future athletic events. One would think that the citizens of that city would be offended. That Fidel, who has singlehandedly turned Havana and all of Cuba into a dump, should so characterize their city would be sufficient cause to take umbrage for not only Edmontonians but Albertans, and, indeed, all Canadians. Instead, the mayor of Edmonton, Stephen Mandel, has extended an intivation to Fidel to visit his city as its guest. Yes, an all-expenses paid vacation so that Fidel can see that Edmonton, Alberta is not as bad as he thinks. If he had called it a "hellhole" perhaps a delegation from Edmonton would have delivered the invitation personally to him.
I wonder what Edmonton will do for the three (and possibly 5) 18-year old kids who defected there? Well, not rounding them up and turning them over to Castro's goons is at least something. But since they want to regale Castro as a "guest of honor" in their city what are they prepared to do for the teenagers who defied him and are now branded by him as "despicable traitors?" Their presence in Edmonton is more honorable to its citizens than would be that of this hemisphere's last slaveholder.
Should We Cheer for Cuban Athletes At International Competitions? Only If We Revel in their Degradation
Words of Reassurance to the Cuban Boxers from Fidel and of Thanks to Brazil